Monday, June 10, 2013

On the Road

   

     The topic of the week around the proverbial water cooler has a been people hiding behind the term "artist" to get out of behaving responsibly. As for me? I don't think I have a irresponsible bone in my body. I have always been a little wild, a little rebellious, but never irresponsible. I've paid my own bills since I was 17 years old. I paid rent to my mom after I graduated high school. I bought my first car with the $500 I saved working a summer job at the golf course as part of the cleaning staff. I've always paid my own insurance for my own car and so on and so on. That's not to say I haven't had the occasional gift from my family. I have. In fact, my family has always rallied together when a loved one is in need. That's what makes us so great, as far as I am concerned. On the whole, I think it is safe to say that I don't really buy the idea that being an artist gives you carte blanche to be irresponsible. I think people hide behind that façade to mask the fact that they are terrified to hold their own ability up to the standards of the world. I think artists who subscribe to the notion that they operate somewhere way above, way below, or way beyond the norm are really worrying too much about themselves and not enough about what really matters–the work.
     Julia Cameron mentions this sort of thing in her book The Artist's Way. From what I can remember (I read this book so long ago!) I think she was implying that "crazy-makers" love to soak up a lot of attention, time, and energy because they are afraid that if they don't, they will fade into the wallpaper. Their work will, too. And, of course, that's scary, if you are in it for all the wrong reasons. All I can say is it is not for me to judge, openly, but privately, I have my opinions about the antics of others. I see right through the bullshit and what's on the other side is not so pretty. It's actually rather sad.
     On a positive note, I know all kinds of artists who exude professionalism. I have met artists that are shy, reclusive, a little crazy, too. Yet, somewhere under it all, they were respectful and humble. Maybe they were not loaded with cash, but they weren't sucking the resources around them dry, either. These kinds of people have shown me you can be an artist and keep to yourself at the same time. In fact, it's better that way, sometimes. These are the type of people I would work with any day. I don't really know where I fit in in all of this. I know I am managing to successfully achieve my goals. A little here, a little there. I know the work is the most important thing. I know that my artist's voice speaks to those in need and that is why I try, every day, to live authentically. I try to stay tuned into my own spirit. I have my days (I used to have many many days) when I gave in to the negativity. I used to sincerely worry that there was something wrong with me because I am so shy in art spaces. I do not like the limelight. I always used to believe I had to force myself into the periphery of everyone around me in order to be successful. Through many days, weeks, months of observation, I have concluded that this is simply not the case. You can be your dorky self in the corner and still make good work. You can do all of that and pay your bills and generally live a quiet life and still make fantastic art. Just because I am an artist, doesn't mean I need attention twenty-four hours a day. I am not better or more valuable than non-creative types and I don't pretend to believe that I am. I am just another person on the road.


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